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The Cycle

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Fbi 21, Boston 19, Us 12, United States 9, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 7, Dzhokhar 6, U.s. 5, Phillip 4, America 4, Russia 4, New Bedford 4, Michael Isikoff 4, Afghanistan 3, Pakistan 3, Geico 2, Diaz 2, Cia 2, North Korea 2, Osama Bin 2, Nbc 2,
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  MSNBC    The Cycle    News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports  
   and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.  

    May 1, 2013
    12:00 - 1:01pm PDT  

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breaking news on the cycle. three suspects arrested in connection of the boston marathon o bombings are in federal court this hour. they are accused of obstruction of justice and making false statements. all are friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev. the police emphasize there is no threat to public safety. nbc news investigative correspondent michael isikoff is on the ground in boston. michael, what do we expect at this hearing today? >> well, this is an initial appearance that the suspects will be informed of the charges against them. they will be asked if they understand the charges against them. they will be told what the penalties are and presumably we understand two of them may already have a lawyer. a third one will be appointed for the third. so all three will have counsel. we would not expect a lot more detail about the charges but there are -- there is quite a few fascinating details in this criminal complaint we've just
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received from federal prosecutors. they outline a chain of events that actually began the very afternoon that the fbi was releasing those photographs of the two suspects of the two tsarnaev brothers. at that point, they had not been publicly identified by name, just photos. but these two students and the third one, the three being charged today, recognize tsarnaev. they are friends with him. they decide to go to his apartment. there's actually some fascinating texting that goes on. that evening. and it is outlined in the complaint, if i can just read some of them. diaz, who seems to be the main player here, texts tsarnaev and says he looks like the guy on tv. tsarnaev's response, lol, laugh out loud, you bet are not text me. and come to my room and take
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whatever you want. now those are taken as jokes, at least the first two. but then they all assemble and do go to the dorm of tsarnaev. they enter the dorm, the roommate lets them in, and they take a backpack filled with fireworks, because they did not want him to get into trouble. at least that the explanation that they gave, that's outlined in this fbi complaint. and then on top of that, they take his laptop computer. actually, the reason for taking the laptop computer seems in some ways even more bizarre as outlined. he decided to take the laptop as well because he did not want tsarnaev's roommate, there at the time, to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack. they take the laptop, take the computer, take it back and the
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backpack with the fireworks, take it back to their apartment in new bedford and then they throw it in the trash. this explains that massive fbi search through garbage dumpsters in new bedford and the landfill in new bedford. they ultimately do find the backpack with the fireworks. curiously, the complaint is absent about what happened to the laptop and whether they found that in the landfill or not. and then, thirdly, and the last part of this is, these three student did not play straight with the fbi. and did not initially tell agents what they have done that night and the third, one of them, is charged with just with lying to the fbi. the other two are charged with conspireing to obstruct justice. >> and michael, what are you hearing about the background of these individuals and does that indicate anything about the motive for the actions that you just detailed?
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>> no, we don't. we know that two are student from kazakhstan that they actually had been detained initially after the bombing on immigration violations, overstaying their visa. and i did talk to a friend of these student who said that one of them, diaz, was appeared to be quite wealthy. the wrecked three beamers, bmws, and then bought a fourth one. so he clearly seems to have come from some money. he had a license plate, we're told, that did have the word terrorist on it. this was taken as some sort of joke. not an indication of jihad thinking. but at this point, there's still a lot we need to learn here and perhaps there's a lot of fbi needs to learn about the background of these individuals. >> michael, as you were indicating, you have two students charged with one thing. the other student seems to have just been charged with lie together fbi.
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are there other substantive differences in terms of what these three individuals are actually alleged to have done? >> i'm sorry, i didn't catch the question. >> the question is, are there differences that you have. the two individuals with a certain set of charges you have a third, who has just charged with lying to the fbi. there are there differences in what the three are alleged to have done? >> yes. >> if you read the complaint closely, it looks like the two student are the main players and diaz seems to on the one who was texting with tsarnaev that night and seems to be the initiator who decides that they should go to the apartment, go to the room of tsarnaev, and take the material. so in terms of the conspiracy to obstruct justice, he seems to be
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the chief player there. the third one seems to be somebody who went along and then mislead to the fbi. was interviewed four times, changed his story if several of those interviews. then in the fourth one finally admitted he was there and present for when this particular was taken. >> michael, this is kind of a bizarre development in an already bizarre story. these guys realize, they are looking at news media, and they realize dzhokhar is one of the bombers. instead of saying, we have to top them, like every other person in the boston area, perhaps in america, say, we have to help him. it boggled the mind. what did they do the night they realize this i go, we know, is one of the boston bombers. do they know what their prior relationship is? and one more thing, can you talk about what kind of time they might be facing for these charges? >> first of all, on the time line event here, fbi complaint
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says that they were friends since they -- they were all sophomores at umass dartmouth. they started cool the same time. in the fall of 2011, became friends then. the complaint says they spent a lot of time socializing together. i believe there is some indication, photographer efd that they took a trip to new york and were in times square together. but you do raise an interesting question. when they first go to the department, that thursday night, after the photographs have been shown to the world by the fbi, they still have not been -- tsarnaev has not been publicly identified by name. they suspect tsarnaev is the -- they suspect dzhokhar is one of those two in the photographs. and they go sort of on a hunch, it seems, and then there's that bizarre texting, which i read a
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moment ago, that the lol, and the, you can take whatever you want from the apartment. but later that night, the next morning, there's confirmation that he is in fact the arrested boston marathon bomber, dzhokhar is, and his brother is dead. at that point, they know for sure that they have taken evidence from his apartment, from the room of the boston marathon bomber. an they still don't come forward. so i think clearly these guys are going to face a lot of questions and in terms of the prosecution, that's pretty damning evidence. the fact that they didn't come forward, even after it was publicly known as then knew that they had taken evidence from the room of the boston marathon bomber. >> and what kind of time would they be facing? >> you know, i can't answer that. but my guess is, this they would get -- they would be facing the upper limits of what this
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charge, conspiracy to obstruct justice, would get you. unless they come clean and provide a lot more information on our seen as fully cooperative with the fbi, which they clearly are not at the moment. >> michael, lawyer for carter has said that the two men, carter and tazaikav, were shocked by the bombing and have fully cooperated. then of course the third suspect, filipos, who misled the fed, how long did it take investigators to break these guys? how long were they held? do we know how long were they questioned? how long did this take? >> right. the complaint does go into detail on that and then the
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third one, i think was interviewed. this is filipos, four times by the fbi. and changed his story in at least two of those interviews. and initially, said he had not been to the apartment. then said he couldn't remember being in the apartment. saying, i believe that roommate wouldn't let them -- they had gone to the apartment but the roommate wouldn't let them in and it wasn't until the fourth interview that he fully came clean and told the whole story. so that is -- that is the kind of evidence that's going to get him into trouble. and clearly it was the basis for bringing these charges. the fully cooperating part, obviously that doesn't comport with what the fbi alleged in this complaint. they have been detained, as i said, from early on in this
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investigation. i believe the saturday after the bombing, now, they've had a lawyer. if they were fully cooperating, we would have expected some sort of court appearance in which they plead guilty and agree to cooperate with the investigation. that's normally what you would see in a situation like that and we're not seeing that this afternoon. >> and michael, just quickly, to clarify. t three suspects here, none of them was dzhokhar's roommate, correct? >> correct. >> there were initial indications from officials, people thought that they were these roommate but it has been reported and i reported, they were not roommates. the two lived off campus in new bedfo bedford. >> all right, we will check
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back. thank you. the use of the terror watch list, tamerlan and his mother were both placed on a master list in 2011, which is controlled by the national counterterrorism center. that's not the same thing as the no-fly list. here is a great diagram the folk at foreign policy put together. you can see the tide list is the big red circle. about 420,000 people on that list. one step further in, gives you the fbi's terrorist screening data base which tamerlan was also on. then the selectee list with about 14,000 names. if you're on that list, there a mandatory second screening at airports. tamerlan was not on this one. another step in is the no-fly list. about 10,000 people on that. as the name suggests, it means you cannot board a plane in or bound for the u.s. finally, the disposition matrix, the little dot in the middle,
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and fp says you don't want to be on this list. few public details are known, but it is thought to be the white house kill list. here to help sort out these and other terror watch list, we have former deputy director of the cia counterterrorism center, phillip mudd. phillip, thanks so much for helping us figure all of this out. and i will just start with the very basic question. if you are on the terror watch this, what does that actually mean? what does that compel the government to do? should you expect your e-mails would be monitored, phone calls listened to, what exactly does that practically mean? >> if you are talking about the two list you mentioned, people who get pulled out of line at airports on the no-fly list, you won't necessarily monitor all of those people. i think most americans would have a sense we can monitor in the federal government or when i was there, thousandses of people at once. that's simply not true.
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the resources to monitor someone are pretty extensive. all that means is you reached a bar sufficient to say, when you come to the airport, well talk to you and look through your bags and in a few cases, you won't get on the plane. >> even above the list that tamerlan was on, not necessary lit no-fly or the one where you get the secondary screening at the airport, what does that with the 420,000 people, the tide list, what does that mean? >> you have to put things into two bu two buckes to the make it simpler. the first is who may or may not get on the plane. the second is the analytic list. you are following people. you want a sent rl repository of names, dates of birth, where they travel, et cetera. that is not a watch list. that's more research where you can compile everything you know of people that might be of concern. >> phillip, when you were overseeing the counterterrorism center, what are the sort of discretionary calls that people
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do make? if someone is eligible for greater scrutiny, what human choices do your folks make? >> there are human choices but standards across government about what bars you have to reach to don't go list. if you tell fen a terrorist, e-mail a terrorist. there are a lot of analyst human beings intervening here. they have a standard set of criteria that says this is person is not just a person of interest. they are in contact with the terrorist, therefore they must get on a watch list. >> phillip, as good as our watch list and warning systems within all of these systems have become, since 9/11, we have the problem of missing quote unquote warning signs. what people would call warning signs. if i think back to post 9/11 terror suspects, the christmas day bomber, his father warned us, for example, about his son's radicalization. nidal hassian, we know we have
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been watching him. faisal shahzad, times square bomber, was on the list for the years prior to the bombing attempt. we know now that tsarnaev's, we had been warned by the russians about the tsarnaevs. so what good are the warning systems and watch lists if we don't act on information about people we already know to be suspected threats? >> i think you're putting eggs in a basket that don't belong in the same basket. a number of the earlier cases you pointed out, for example, the underwear bomber, there were mistakes that u.s. government admitted. there were improvements we had to make. i think the interesting thing about this case is someone watching terrorism for 20 years is that americans can't look at this and be satisfied there a fix. russians calling and saying we are suspicious about two chechens, it just ain't good enough. >> phillip, help me understand
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something. 16,000 people barred from flights. 500 americans on the no-fly list. 420-something thousand people on the watch list, but they can buy guns and explosives in america. from '04 to 2010 people were cleared to buy guns or explosives. 1,321 times. does it make sense? why haven't terror watch list and then allow them to go out and buy weapons? >> you're asking the terror expert about gun control of the united states. let's be serious here. if i were in the chair i would eliminate about 90% of that. i did terrorism. i didn't do politics. that's a political question. it has nothing to do with what i did for a living. >> all right. cia does not control gun policy. that's true. phillip, thank you for being here. he well talk to you again this hour. all of these events happening two years almost to the day since osama bin laden was killed. we will expand on where the
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two year's go tonight a nation and entire world heard this. >> tonight, i can report to the american people and to the world that the united states conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. in and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children. >> the bin laden raid marked a turning point in our decade-long war on terror. now there a footprint in the region and soldiers are still dying either from enemy attacks or in the latest case because of what appears to be a freak accident.
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warning the video we are about to show you is disturbing. caught on tape monday, a national air cargo jumbo jet crashing near an air force base if afghanistan killing seven americans, you can see it there just fall out of the sky and burst into flames. the taliban claimed responsibility but nato said it does not believe the claims are valid. investigators are looking into strong winds or possibility that shifting cargo caused the plane it tilt off course. but whether we are talking about the ongoing battle in afghanistan or atrocities in sir why or continuing rhetoric from iran and north korea, our foreign policy plate is packed and with seemingly no right answers, what is a president do? of course we are waiting right now on the initial court appearance for the three friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev. just the latest complication in our ongoing war on terror. the new york times chief washington correspondent david sanger, pulitzer prize winner and author of "confront and
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conce conceal" and it makes us think we are in a perpetual war against terror. not any specific organization but when small groups of people homegrown or foreign, can commit acts of terror, and it is impossible to stop the small groups, are we in a perpetual war? >> we are in a low grade. and the most interesting thing to my mind about the bombings and the horrific nature of it all is about what a different debate we would be having in this country today if it looked like it was directed by al qaeda, and of course it does not look like it has been. ten years ago we would be just about certain. maybe even five years ago that it would be. so it is probably that we're in a better place if our biggest
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concern is homegrown terror of which we have had forms long before the/11. if you think back it oklahoma city. think back to the turn of the century. and while are all deeply disturbing, it is different than saying there is a full scale war on. as you suggest, we've got much bigger problems with the likes of north korea, iran, certainly throughout regions of the middle east. but that's different than what we see in boston. >> let's go back to the beginning of the modern era on this question, of 9/11, bin laden, two years ago today, we killed bin laden. was that ultimately symbolic or did that have a substantive impact on our foreign policy? >> i think it has a symbolic and substantive impact. the symbolic part is it confirmed what the government had been saying but hard for many americans to actually
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internalize which is that central al qaeda is in full collapse. what that is in some ways is that the reaffirmation, of what in the obama white house was called the light footprint strategy, a strategy moving i way from a focus on these big attritional wars where we send a hundred thousand troops to a country, rewire the nation and after six or seven years discover we haven't done very little other than build recentments there. and more towards the use of america's technological advantage or physical advantage against a smaller group. so there are drone strikes in afghanistan, and in the long run, harmful or helpful. there are cyber strikes of the kind that the book revealed that the united states conducted against iran. and then there's the use of special forces. ultimate light footprint. remember they were in and out of pakistan before the pakistani military even had a chance to
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respond. >> david in the book you have the chapter, the dark side of the light footprint. you talk about standard that this administration struggled to fashion or new operations including targeted killing. they settled on the notion that a country would have to expressly invite a drone attacks. that would be a standard. we could see diplomatically why that would make sense. what about the standard in the constitution though, that congress be involved in authorizing war like activities, and senator widen has been trying for years to get a list of where the country is using drones to no avail. do you think the congress has been mia here or for them to find way to get anything out of the administration. >> it has been hard. i think this is an area you frequently hear about the dangers of leaks to news organizations like yours and ours here.
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but this is a case where the pressure on the administration, both bush administration and obama administration, to come up with standard of how they use crones. and i may as well say, cyber. have come from a very vigorous press that has been pushing this issue. much more so than i think congress and ron wyden has been the exception here. but since it is not a declared war of the kind that world war ii was for example, congress does not have much of an authorizing capability. it does have an investigative capability and one can ask the question about why their big investigations on this have remained classified when drones are really the least covert program in america. >> david, let's talk about obama's wars and his use of modern warfare on the cyber wars as you mentioned, and then the drone wars. as we've discussed, these wars
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are prosecuted without congressional say-so. are largely unaccountable. rules of engagement have really yet to be codfide on both fronts. they are targeted but there is serious collateral damage in the case of drones, obviously innocent civilians have been killed. as you point out, that was sort of unintentionally replicated around the world, that virus. i wonder if we can take a historical look for a second. obama might be a nobel peace prize winner for his aversion to traditional warfare but he has been a pioneer commando in terms of modern warfare. how do you think the longview of history will parcel out those two opposing ends of the psalm coin? >> you know, it is a great question. as i reported on confront and conceal, i got to a point where i reached an american official, worked for president bush,
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worked for president obama, worked with them quite closely, and this official said to me, you know, what was surprising about president obama was his aggressiveness. i think what they meant is his aggressiveness in using schools that he never discussed in any form in the 2008 campaign. when he talked about drones it was mostly with caution. when he talked about cyber, mostly about privacy. then he arrives at the white house. there have been six-fold increase in drone strikes and pakistan alone. and he took olympic games, cyber program and expanded it quite dramatically. where he has been more cautious is where he puts american boots on the ground and that's the debate about syria. so i think as you see the question that we're asking for the next term is has the light footprint approach, sort of run out of gas? and at this point, the drone strikes create a lot of resentment against the united
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states and pakistan and yemen and elsewhere. cyber strikes, president obama himself was concerned and used by other states to justify their regular cyber attack on the united states even if they are for largely commercial stealing. >> david, talk more about that. the threat of cyber strikes on the united states. because on the one hand it strikes me we are the most technologically advanced state in the world. you know, so we probably have better safe guards than any other country on the other hand we are more dependent perhaps on that very technology which makes us in some ways more vulnerable. what are the realities of those threats towards the united states? >> you're absolutely right. we are at once the most sophisticated and most vulnerable. because everything is connected to the web. most of the strikes we see in the united states and most of those that emanate from china, which is the biggest source of these, are for either corporate espionage, stealing information, stealing corporate data.
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but we have begun to see some testing on affects of american infrastructure. that means everything from the utilities to the cell phone networks to the emergency responders systems. and the big concern is that ultimately these systems, which are largely not in the hands of the u.s. government, are the ones that somebody could really bring down if there was a concern in cyber strike in the united states. that's why the government is rushing to come up with what are the presidential authorities to strike back if there is a major cyber attack. and so far the u.s. has not struck back. mostly dealt with these in the legal system or just tried to build better defenses. >> all right, david, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> you're looking at crowds outside the federal courthouse in boston where a hearing is starting for the three men charged in connection with the boston bombings. nbc's michael isikoff is back
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with us. michael, could you clarify what charges are for us? >> reporter: exactly. i want to answer some questions that came up earlier that we didn't have the answers to. these two students are facing conspiracy to obstruct justice. now, the maximum penalty for that is five years and $250,000 in prison. the third one, filipos, is charged with lying to investigators in the course of a terror investigation and that facees a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and same $250,000 in fines. couple things worth mentioning, first of all, those are both charges that are sort of at the low end in a major terrorism investigation. i think it is a pretty good indicator that the fbi at this point does not suspect that any of these three had direct
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involvement or knowledge of the bombing beforehand. if they did, they do wo not be charging offenses that carry such relatively low penalties. also just to clarify, i think i was asked before about the comment by the lawyer for the two student that they were cooperating and i said that's hard to square with what is in the affidavit. reading it more closely now, they clearly did, the two student, did the most significant things here in terms of removing the evidence, the backpack and the laptop taking it back to their apartment in new bedford. they do appear to have told the fbi when they were first questioned. there is no evidence that they lied or concealed the truth after they were questioned. where as the third one, filipos is questioned four times and he repeatedly changes his story
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first telling the fbi he doesn't remember going to the apartment. he wasn't at the apartment that night. then saying he didn't remember going to the apartment. then saying he went to the apartment but they couldn't get in because the roommate had locked the door and wouldn't let them in. and it isn't until the fourth interview that he finally tells the truth. and that's why he is facing somewhat higher penalties here, eight years, as opposed to maximum of five the other two are facing. >> michael isikoff, thank you for digging into that. stand by, i want to bring criminal defense attorney jamie floyd in. if you are defending these guys, jamie, what are you doing right at this moment? >> i think you want it to emphasize, this is what you learn in in law school, the fact of the crimes. you want to deter people from
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covering up. these are at the low end of the spectrum especially in a crime of this magnitude. these are young men who got involved after the fact. authorities do not seem to us is spig to suspect they were involved in the execution of the crime. but we want to tell citizens, you should not obstruct justice or make false statements to law enforcement. they do carry a penalty. as an attorney, emphasize to the public and court these young men were involved at the low end of the scale bp. >> if involved at all. presumption of innocence. >> and what michael said, they said they just wanted to help our friend. isn't that what they are charged with doing, helping their friend, who is a suspected critici criminal. >> the first thing i thought of is my 10-year-old son. isn't it so childish? we wanted to help our friend. at some pount, when you're
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growigro growing up your parents teach you to do the right thing, responsibility. and in such incredible circumstances such as this one, certainly they wanted to help their friend but somewhere their moral compass was off, if indeed they did this. this is a fast-moving story. how surprised were we to learn today that three more people had been implicated in this by law enforcement. again, presuming innocence but they are now charged. so if indeed they did this, you would think that by this age, in their late teens, early 20s, they would know even if they suspected their friend, the right thing to do would be to come forward as this story unfolded. >> i would hope my 5-year-old would know that. >> absolutely. it seems they have confused their responsibility to the various communities in their life. they have a small community. he is our friend. we know him. we see him all the time. we have to help our friend. but actually your responsibility is to the larger community.
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members of whom they have killed and maimed ease amputated and changed their lives and it baffles my mind. i would like to go to the school and say, what are you teaching students in terms of morals and ethics that they wouldn't realize the larger community needs us and we know the person who committed this thing that everybody is talking about. >> doesn't this remind us of this larger dialogue we have all the time about snitching? when is it appropriate to talk about our friends and what they are doing in our smaller community and what about the larger community and implication on people we may not know but who are a part of our larger community. these are dialogues we need to have with our young people, with our children, who as you say, from the age five on. >> jamie, in this process, all we have is the criminal complaint. we don't have the defense. >> thank you for saying that. >> what would you see as a theory of the case for the defense, based on the publicly
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available information. would they be able, given statements made, and some we should say conflicting statements according to the government, would it be able to be said that they thought their friend was wrongly accused. they didn't see their friends in a criminal matter, but were moving items around and hadn't had contact with law enforcement. >> you raise a good point. ignorance of the law is an defense but conspiracy is a very hard crime to prove. it is not the independent act itself, which is charged against the surviving bomber. they have to show a certain degree of knowledge to be complicit in agreement, to cover up what they thought their friend was engaged in. and as you suggest, the burden of proof is on prosecutors to show this conspiracy that is alleged as to the two young men who are charged with conspiracy. the third young man, that's about making false statements.
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statements have to be false and he has to know they are false at the time he makes the statements. that's a heavy burden of proof on the prosecution and i would hold them to that burden. it is a very, very high burden under a case like this. >> jaime, stay with us. back with us is mr. mudd. what is the background of these suspect according to the criminal complaint. >> i have a different take. this is not just people living in boston. these are kids who come from a different culture and different country where security services are pervasive and where they are parachuted in here and living insence in a closed cluster among friends, including the con sp con spirer tos and murders. they are living differently than we would. in 19, 20, 21-year-old, sitting making big decisions and
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teenagers make stupid decisions in that environment. >> teenagers do make stupid decisions. but they've been here at left a few years, at least college sophomores. and all of the discussion we have in this country around terrorism and impact of terrorism and i mean, it is still surprising to me that someone could commit a clearly terrorist act and other people afterward would say, why wouldn't you help that person and make sure they don't get into more trouble. that just seems bizarre thought process to me. >> it doesn't seem bizarre to me. this is different because you have kids coming in after the fact. but when we had investigations unfold you have a cluster of 17, 18, 20-year-olds. kids who might be doing okay in high school or college. over time, as they gel, they say, maybe we should blow up an oil refinery. that seems bizarre. but as they talk to each other, the cell combines an they feel like they are one against will
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world. >> phillip, awant to go back to a conversation we had earlier about the terror watch list and no-fly list. you mentioned at that time, you know, just having russia call regarding tamerlan and say, we have suspiciones about this guy, that wouldn't be enough to trigger sort after heightened scrutiny of him or heightened surveillance. how often would we receive those sorts of tips from russia? what would the typical level of cooperation with the foreign government such as russia be? >> we get a lot of tips in from foreign government. if you're sitting in a security service and you believe there's a threat, even if it's against a country you don't believe you are cooperating closely with, you pass that along. remember you have to match that with tips from informants of the united states. with information you get from wiretaps, with tapping people's e-mails. so the volume of stuff is very high. >> and we talk a lot about all of the coordination going on. president mentioned that this week with the 17 different intelligence agencies.
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and your experience particularly on the cia side where they keep some healthy distance from the criminal process domestically, what are agents doing on a day like today. as we see the investigation snare new people. where does the espionage meet with the law enforcement process once courts are involved? >> it meets with people. i'm not looking, if i'm sitting at the cia court case, i have one question. we have to turn over every single rock in this investigation to determine whether any person overseas or the united states was willing of the conspiracy or participating p. that will take a while. counterterrorism is a people business. before you prove the negative, you better turn over every rock. >> when you evaluate stips coming in from russia, don't you also have to think about, well, they are at some long-term war with people from chechnya. they may have a secondary motive in pointing us toward the chechen rebels or people they
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suspect of having done something. don't you have to put it in a larger context of who these people are and whom is talking about whom. >> i would say, sort of. in any circumstance as the fbi did, you will want to talk to the folks. you can't presume what the russians did is give us information that was bad. as you say, you've got to put it into a context that says russianes have a big interest in having us follow their opposition, including their political opposition, so let me be careful here. >> okay, phillip, thanks. let's bring back jamie. jamie your reaction to what phillip just said about the suspects. >> i think we have to be careful to remember these three suspects are not implicated in the bombing plot or active participation in the bombing itself. these are after the fact crimes. while we can make assumptions and i give all do you deference to mr. phillip mudd and his area of expertise, we can make assumptions about the profile, about their mind-set. we really know nothing about who
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they are at this point beyond their names and little bit about their background. we don't know how much they share with the main defendant, main suspect in the bombings. you know, what we know now is they found, allegedly, they found this backpack, dismantled it to some extent. accused of covering up to help their friend. there could have been other kids in the dorm that would have covered up to help their friend. in these fast-moving stories we do a lot of speculating. filling in of facts, and information. i want us to be very careful before we build a case on behalf of law enforcement before they've had a chance to build the case for themselves. >> have point. >> that's a good point and it is good we seem to have contained the number of people actually involved in the bombing itself. but talk about joining a losing team. these guys thought that -- they thought these are the suspects. and they say let's help them.
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at any point you say white a minute, maybe we should call the fbi and let them know. >> absolutely. i simply want to not ascribe motive to the alleged actions there suggested to have partaken under it. >> jamie, based on what you have seen and reported in the affidavit, what do you think is the challenging pieces of information there for the defense? >> it is sort of a two sides of the same coin that michael reported on earlier. initially, they did not come forward to the authorities. the first two young men. but then immediately when authorities challenged them with the information, they tip their hand and give authorities exactly what they node to prosecute the case. on the obstruction of justice. so that's a good fact and a very, very bad fact because now authorities have precisely what they need to pursue the first case that carries five years and
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$250,000 fine against the young men. the second young man continues to give bad information two, three, four times. he built a worst case against himself. as michael reported, he is looking a the a possible eight years. nothing like the main suspect in the case, because these are after the fact crimes. but it's two sides of the same coin for the two young men who allegedly found this backpack that was a very telling piece of evidence in a horrible, horrible crime. >> indeed. jamie, stay right there. we'll be right back. nah. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. keep you yard your own with your choice lawn insect controls, just $8.88.
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nbc's michael isikoff is is back with us now. michael, what will happen to these suspects after today's court hearing? >> they'll remain in federal custody. what would normally happen is u.s. marshals presumably already have custody of them. they'll go to a federal jail waiting for the next court date. that could get set during this court hearing that's going on now. i'd like to point out, we've been talking all hour about a lot of the fascinating e ining n this complaint and at what point these suspects began cooperating with the fbi and did they tell the full story. clearly the third one did not according to the complaint and lied three times -- in three interviews, different tell the
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full story, confessed in the fourth one. there's actually even a somewhat significant discrepancy in the story the two students told here. di diaz, who clearly seems to be the key player and the one who takes the material from the -- takes the material from the apartment that night, this is the night that the photographs have been shown to the world by the fbi. but tsarnaev has not been publicly identified. so they suspect he's the one when they remove it. but they don't know for sure he's the one. they do have those little interesting text messages. according to him, they destroy -- they put the backpack in the dumpster that night. before he's been publicly identified. but according to the story of the other student, his friend,
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it's not until the next morning that they throw away the material in the dumpster. the backpack in the dumpster. that's cig kapt because it's the next morning that dzhokhar tsarnaev has been identified by name to the world as well as his brother. so at that point they know for sure that he's the accused master mind of the boston marathon bombing and they still destroy or attempt to destroy or remove the evidence. so i think that makes the charges -- that is a somewhat important discrepancy in the stories these two tell. it does get to the question of who's telling the truth here and whether the fbi has the full and truthful story from both of them. >> and, michael, that discrepancy is also important because in the theory of the government's case, the criminal complaint says that when he first learned of the text messages we've been reporting on today, it says he believed he
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would never see tsarnaev alive again. that's the government saying now this defendant had a belief of mind, presumably shared with the government investigators, that he thought the whole jig was up. what can you tell us about that? >> i mean, look, clearly they had good reason to believe their friend was the accused boston marathon bomber. no question about that. that's why they go to the apartment. that's why they remove the evidence. but i think it's still -- there's a difference between suspecting, strongly believing your friend is the -- is the accused bomber, and knowing for sure he's the one the fbi is looking for and who all of boston is looking for. remember, the entire city was in lockdown that day from that morning under orders from the governor. nobody should go outside because their friend, tsarnaev, was at loose and may have bombs. so the fact -- that's the point
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that they may have been throwing away the evidence makes this even more significant, i think. >> of course, the contents of the backpack itself, the fact that there were fireworks inside the backpack, i'm sure also relevant here. michael, there was some reporting earlier that tsarnaev had made some indication a month or so ago that he knew how to make a bomb. what do we know about that? >> reporter: right. actually, it's a fascinating little footnote in the complaint in which one of them says they had been meeting about a month before the boston marathon bombing and dzhokhar tsarnaev volunteers that he knows how to make a bomb. there's also a reference to the fact that at one point they went down to the charles river in cambridge and were setting off fireworks. not necessarily incriminating behavior on its face for a bunch of teenagers. but in context, it may take on some more importance. but, yes, that little footnote seems to be the one indicator,
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one of the indicators out there that dzhokhar tsarnaev was thinking about setting off bombs or at least had knowledge of how to set off a bomb sometime before the boston marathon bombing itself. >> michael, legally speaking, does it matter the amount of communication that they had with dzhokhar, whether or not he kind of told them, do this for me, or whether they acted entirely independently? and can you explain a little bit how it came to be that these people were all -- some of them were already in custody. they were i.c.e. detainees. how did that happen? >> well, i think the fbi was on to these guys very quickly. and they may not have had the full and complete story from them and not understood fully and completely what had happened, but they're detained that saturday, april 23rd, on immigration violations over student -- violations of student visa. this is a sort of standard fbi technique in terrorism investigations.
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use whatever laws are out there to detain suspects you might have suspicions about. it was during that time they had unlimited access to them. they would have been able to question them and they were able to compile the statements that are reflected in this affidavit. >> michael, thank you so numuch for your help this hour. we'll be back with a final word after this. you must be garth's father? hello. mother. mother! traveling is easy with the venture card because you can fly any airline anytime. two words. double miles! this guy can act. wanna play dodge rock? oh, you guys! and with double miles you can actually use, you never miss the fun. beard growing contest and go! ♪ i win! what's in your wallet?
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that does it for "the cycle" this hour. martin picks up our breaking news. >> it's wednesday, may 1st. there's breaking news at this hour on the friends of the boston bombing suspect arrested, charged this afternoon with obstructing justice to help an
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accused terrorist. we are back with developing news of three additional arrests in connection with the boston marathon bombing. the media is at this moment assembled outside the federal courthouse in boston awaiting details from proceedings inside. three college friends of dzhokhar tsarnaev have just been charged. two with conspiracy to obstruct justice. another for making false statements. the friends allegedly removing items from dzhokhar's dorm room and then denying it. the detailed complaint unsealed just a short time ago alleges, quote, knowingly destroying, concealing and covering up objects belonging to dzhokhar tsarnaev, namely a backpack containing fireworks and a laptop